Our journey to the Red Bull Ragnarok in Norway began a few years ago when we decided that it would be fun to also use the kite in the snow. We have dabbled with snow kitting in the mountains and also exmoor/ dartmoor when the occasional snow arrives to the UK winter. However, our training for this event was very ‘water’based: kitesurfing whenever we can during the Uk winter.
Arriving at 8am in Haugestol (Norway) for the skippers meeting, it became apparent that our training was not sufficient for this endurance race – completion of 5 laps of a 13km circuit which could take up to 5hours.
Most of the 200 competitors had competed in the race before so many knew the drill. Loading of the coach’s that carried us & the equipment to the start of the race in the Hardengervidda National Park and all of the Team Bridge were massively excited but also apprehensive of what was ahead.
We all pumped our biggest kites (which were not big enough). A quick re-hydrate for Tom who was the youngest at age 13 and Guy – age 14. All of us were on ski’s except Tom on a snowboard and all 200 snowkiters started together in a mass of colourful kites, speed and mayhem!
Endurance was paramount and only the toughest riders with the most specific equipment made it to the finish line. Natural obstacles, such as rivines, drifts, rocks and Hills at Dyrant, were part of the Norwegian Plateau. Very light winds made it really technical with specific equipment a necessity to complete this inaugural race. It was difficult to keep track of the rest of the family, although I knew that Tom would have the most difficulty on a snowboard. Olly just wanted to ensure he finished the race and he was 1 of the 40 people that did finish. Eric and Guy made a team together ensuring they helped each other around – often with kites falling out off the sky and making difficulty to start again. After 4.5 hours I was told that I could not finish the course in the time limit and was forced to finish what was one of the toughest kite races we have ever done. Like any light wind race, light big kites with light long race ski’s, light lines and some specific training is a must. However, it was the taking part with the whole family in such an incredible atmosphere and sharing the moments of frustration, joy, excitement and commitment.
Red Bull Ragnarok imitates the myth of an incident in Norse Mythology describing the last battle between the good and the evil gods, where only the heroes survive, in the respect that only a mere few snow kite heroes will succeed.
We shall not be putting the Red Bull Ragnarok to bed there, next year we shall be back stronger, better prepared with more specific equipment.
Thankyou Red Bull UK for getting us all an entry to this incredible race and also to Volvo Norway for letting us use their Hybrid V60 for the trip.